Almond & Raspberry Shortbread Slice 

Wow, where did January go?! My apologies for not managing a single post all month. Even though I’m on holidays from uni January was crazy busy for me, I spent two weeks on placement in beautiful Broome and then worked full time for the rest of the month! I’m looking forward to a bit of a break in February before the new uni year begins.
Yesterday’s unseasonally cold January weather called for but one thing: baking! January here in Australia is normally too hot to justify baking (except in emergencies, of course!) so even though yesterday was cold and miserable outside, I didn’t really mind!

  
This slice is a really simple bake. I can see it starring at a fancy tea party, yet being equally suited to the lunch box.
My favourite thing about it is that the raspberry layer is simply jam, so you could use whatever jam or fruit spread you have on hand in this slice! This might be a solution for the huge stockpile of homemade apricot jam in Mum’s cupboard…
Almond & Raspberry Shortbread Slice:

(adapted from Life Made Simple Bakes)
Ingredients:

180g unsalted butter, room temperature 

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/4 tsp almond essence

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2-3/4 cup raspberry or any other jam (I just used whatever was left in the jar!)

1/4 cup slivered almonds.
1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Line the base and sides of a 20-23 cm square cake tin with baking paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond essence and mix to combine.

3. Sift the flour and salt and add gradually to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed. Mix until it forms a soft dough that separates from the side of the bowl.

4. Reserve around 1/2 cup of the shortbread dough, wrap and place in the freezer while you assemble the rest of the slice.

5. Place the remaining dough in the lined tin and press down into an even layer.

6. Spread the jam on top of the shortbread layer, leaving a small border around the edges of the tin.

7. Crumble the reserved, cold dough over the jam layer along with the almonds.

8. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden on top.

9. Cool in the tin, then remove and slice. May be dusted with icing sugar to serve if desired.

Recipe: Apple, loganberry & walnut slice

 

IMG_3254Welcome to Summer! With it’s vibrant flavours and colours, and using the two ingredients we have an abundance of at the moment – loganberries and lemons – I think this slice is a beautiful way to welcome the season.  I suppose you could also say it looks vaguely festive, with the bright red berries, but even though it’s December I’m not quite ready for Christmas baking just yet ;).

But seriously, check these out. Nothing beats fruit straight from the tree or the vine!

IMG_3243.jpg

This slice is pretty easy to make, but looks beautiful.  It’s really an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation, as many good recipes are – the furthest back source, so far as I can find, is the Smitten Kitchen.  There, it’s made with pistachios and apricots, but as you can see I’ve changed up the fruit and the nuts – it really is a versatile recipe, just use whatever you have on hand and trust your instinct in combining flavours!

Here’s how to make the slice:

Apple, loganberry & walnut slice:
Base
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter, cold
Topping
  • 110g (3/4 cup) walnuts
  • 1½ tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g sugar
  • 70g butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 350 grams (approximately) apples and loganberries
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Icing sugar to dust
METHOD
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line the base and sides of a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter, in chunks and process until clumpy. Press the dough firmly and evenly into the tin. Bake for 15 minutes or until pale golden. This is about right:IMG_3244
  3. In the unwashed food processor, finely grind the walnuts, flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and process until combined. Add the egg and vanilla, blending until it forms a smooth paste. (if, at this point, your trusty old food processor breaks like mine did, you can mix it to a paste by hand if your nuts are crushed already).
  4. Spread the filling evenly over the cooked base.IMG_3246
  5. Slice apples and de-stem loganberries. Combine with lemon zest and juice, and evenly spread over the walnut paste.IMG_3248
  6. Bake the slice for around 50 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted into the filling comes out clean. Leave in pan to cool.
  7. Dust with icing sugar to decorate and cut into squares, or serve however you like.
  8. Left-over slice (if there is any!) will keep in an airtight container in the fridge, I’d imagine for a couple of days.

IMG_3250